Brannon Howse over at Worldview Weekend wrote a good piece about what it is to be saved. As I am an “ex-false-convert” I can sympthaize with what he says. Read it and ponder his points, what about you? Are you just “sorry” and not “saved”?
On Being Sorry, Not Saved
By Brannon S. Howse
In several books, from the Worldview Weekend platform, and in various articles you’ve hopefully read here, I’ve sounded the alarm about the sorry state of the worldviews of many evangelical Christians. Numerous studies-perhaps the most stunning of which was done by the Southern Baptist Church of its own youth-reveal that the lifestyles, values, and the resulting worldview of most of those that attend “evangelical churches” is no different from the world and that a large majority of students leave the church after graduating from high school, never to return.
While the studies reveal the problem, they don’t explain what has caused it, but I believe I know. The root is that our churches are filled with false coverts. And it’s a problem I identify with all too readily because, despite being raised in a Christian home, taught in a Christian school, and a member of a Bible-believing church, I was a false convert myself until I was an adult. And the scary part of it is that it’s not all that hard to do!
I played the “game” (even though I didn’t know I was playing a game). I thought I was saved because I believed in Jesus Christ, had prayed the “sinner’s prayer,” walked the aisle, and had been baptized. I was “sorry” for my sins but it was not the kind of sorrow that produced repentance unto salvation.
My wake-up call came when I read the book of 1 John and recognized ten clear signs of a true convert but saw very few of those signs manifested in my own life. After searching the Scriptures further, I discovered the source of my dysfunctional attempt at Christianity in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10:
Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
True repentance was missing from my heart and, hence, my life! “Godly sorrow” causes someone to turn and go in the opposite direction of a willfully sinful life. True repentance leads to a change in a person’s life, priorities, and desires, and it produces God-honoring fruit.
You see, many people say they believe in Jesus, but this does not make them saved. Recall that the Bible says demons believe in Jesus (James 2:19) but so what? It’s not a saving belief.
Too often people say they are saved because they are sorry for the bad things they do, but they continue to willfully practice sin (can you say “Sunday Christian”?). The 2 Corinthians passage makes clear that there is a worldly sorrow that leads to death and another, godly, sorrow that produces repentance leading to salvation.
What really caught my attention and caused me to realize I was not a good person, that I was totally depraved and deserved hell, was when I encountered the Biblical teaching and doctrine of the moral law or the Ten Commandments. That made me realize only a godly sorrow that leads to repentance and salvation would do. The moral law revealed my true condition-my extreme sinfulness and depravity.
Sadly, repentance is not a Christian doctrine we hear taught often enough (many churches never teach it), and as a result, the church is filled with false converts. This dire reality should concern all of us. Scripture is forthright about how important this is:
- The word “repent” and its various forms is used over 100 times in the Bible.
- John the Baptist preached in the wilderness, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2).
- Jesus preached this same message of repentance. Mark 1:14, 15 says, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the gospel.'”
- In Mark 6, Jesus sends out the 12 disciples two by two. Verse 12 states, “So they went out and preached that people should repent” (italics mine).
Every day 150,000 people step off into eternity, and a frightening percentage of them fall into eternal judgment. And many who wind up under judgment are likely shocked when they realize their situation. Many will have thought they lived a good life as defined by today’s standards. They went to church, perhaps even walked the aisle and got baptized. Some even taught Sunday school. But Jesus warned us this would happen:
<i>”Not everyone who psays to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will qenter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who rdoes the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'” (Matthew 7:21-23)</i>
I thank God someone once spoke doctrine into my life, revealed the true condition of my heart and mind, and declared Code Blue for my soul. It’s time for the American church to declare Code Blue and return to teaching sound Biblical doctrine-to our children, teens and adults-because hearts and minds are at eternal risk.
If you agree that this is a series issue facing the American church then would you please join us in promoting the FREE, Code Blue Rallies we are holding in 8 cities this fall?
Complete details can be found at www.codebluerally.com
We would also invite you to order our Worldview Weekend Family Survival Kit. Complete details are at this link.
q [John 3:3, 5]
r ch. 12:50